un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld How to pronounce underworld (audio) \

Definition of underworld

1 : the place of departed souls : hades
2 archaic : earth
3 : the side of the earth opposite to one : antipodes
4 : a social sphere below the level of ordinary life the town's seedy underworld especially : the world of organized crime

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of underworld in a Sentence

a magazine article taking an insightful look at the underworld inhabited by street people
Recent Examples on the Web Down in the metaphorical underworld below, the home where the Mandalorians had lived in secrecy is found abandoned—a tomb, now. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, "The Mandalorian recap: Chapter 8 ‘Redemption’," 27 Dec. 2019 After all, there isn’t much light in the underworld. Ben Zauzmer, The Hollywood Reporter, "Tony Awards: Predicting the Musical Winners Using Math," 7 June 2019 Some of Earth’s early history is locked up in the lunar underworld, too. National Geographic, "Chinese rover finds strange rocks that may come from deep inside the moon," 15 May 2019 Everything will vanish into the digital underworld. Wired, "How to Free Up Space in Gmail," 31 Oct. 2019 Miclantecuhtl, the god of the dead, and Mictecacihuatl, his wife and the goddess of death, rule the underworld of Mictlán. USA Today, "The Day of the Dead: Explained in graphics," 30 Oct. 2019 Stories of Theseus, hero of Athens, were popular, but writers tended to focus on Theseus’s other accomplishments, such as his descent into the underworld or his adventures with the Amazons. Amaranta Sbardella, National Geographic, "The monstrous Minotaur riveted ancient Greece and Rome," 1 Oct. 2019 The procession stopped at the pit, where a religious ceremony took place and the food offerings were cast into the pit for the spirits of the underworld or in the hope of rebirth. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Archaeologists Crack the Case of 1,700-Year-Old Roman Eggs," 9 Dec. 2019 Though the mythic forces of the underworld are not at work in this film, the practical impossibilities of Marianne and Héloïse’s romance function as a similarly insurmountable barrier. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Most Enthralling Movie of the Year," 4 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'underworld.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of underworld

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about underworld

Time Traveler for underworld

Time Traveler

The first known use of underworld was in 1598

See more words from the same year

Statistics for underworld

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Underworld.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/underworld. Accessed 19 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for underworld


How to pronounce underworld (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of underworld

: the world of crime and criminals
: the place where dead people go in Greek myths


un·​der·​world | \ ˈən-dər-ˌwərld How to pronounce underworld (audio) \

Kids Definition of underworld

: the world of crime

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on underworld

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for underworld

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with underworld

Spanish Central: Translation of underworld

Nglish: Translation of underworld for Spanish Speakers

Comments on underworld

What made you want to look up underworld? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to insert between existing elements

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!